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Twice in Two Days — Southwest 737-700s Abort Takeoff at MDW After Engines Catch Fire

Two Southwest Airlines flights were forced to abort takeoff after experiencing engine problems in Chicago just two days apart.

Nearly 300 passengers traveling with Southwest Airlines had their travel plans changed during takeoff this week after two separate aircraft experiencing engine problems. Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV reports Southwest Airlines Flight 3299 and Southwest Airlines Flight 4384 aborted takeoff from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

WN3299, operated on a Boeing 737-700, taking off for Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) late Wednesday evening when problems arose. During the takeoff, passengers said they saw smoke and flames shoot out of one of the engines, causing the twin-jet to veer on the runway. The pilots were able to correct the aircraft’s course and bring it to a stop before it could run off the runway.

Passenger Ryan Toth captured this video of the engine as it started sparking:

Emergency crews were immediately called to evacuate the passengers and extinguish the engine fire. None of the 143 passengers aboard the flight were injured.

“We were literally going to take off and then it went off, we pulled over and all these fire trucks came over and it was crazy,” an unidentified passenger told WLS-TV. “I was actually freaking out because I don’t like flying that much anyway and then I just saw that go off and I thought it was going to die.”

The second engine-related incident occurred Friday morning aboard WN4384, another 737-700, with scheduled for service to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). According to passengers on the flight, the aircraft was preparing to take off when smoke was spotted coming out of the right engine.

“All of a sudden a bunch of SUVs were circling the plane and then a couple of fire trucks showed up,” Amy Schubert, a passenger on WN4384, told WLS-TV. “The captain got on and told us people behind us reported seeing flames.”

WN4384 returned to its gate at MDW, where passengers were evacuated and scheduled to board another aircraft. There were no injuries reported among the 136 passengers.

Speaking to WLS-TV following Wednesday’s incident, a Southwest representative said WN3299 experienced a “performance issue with one of the engines.”

An initial investigation of WN4384 Friday morning did not reveal “any sign of fire or smoke from a maintenance perspective,” according to airline officials, who added that the 737-300 in question “remains in maintenance.”

The cause of both incidents remain under investigation.

[Photo: WLS-TV; Video: Ryan Toth via Twitter]

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3 Comments
9
98103 July 13, 2015

Apparently they're employing a former tabloid headline writer. Neither of these aircraft caught on fire, as the FT headline screamed. I read no compelling evidence that the engines caught fire, either. Shot out flames, yes, caught fire, no. By they way, how does an airplane off a runway? Can airplanes kill? Are they employed by mob families? "The pilots were able to correct the aircraft’s course and bring it to a stop before it could run off the runway."

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NarratorJack July 12, 2015

Both at MDW?

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OskiBear July 11, 2015

Incoherent. Who writes this stuff? Does anyone care about spelling and grammar?